This is the full read-only archive of the "Ask the Wordwizard" section of the original Wordwizard site. The responses to the questions originate from Jonathon Green, the compiler of the Cassell Dictionary of Slang and numerous other dictionaries.
Frankly, in the meaning 'without concealment, disguise, or reserve; avowedly, openly, plainly' dates to the mid-16C. It comes from 'frank', based in latin 'francus', free, and which means free in a variety of senses, whether as 'not being a slave', 'free from restraint', 'free from obligation', 'free from anxiety', 'liberal, bounteous', 'not practising concealment; ingenuous, open, sincere', of feelings: 'undisguised', of speech: 'candid, outspoken, unreserved'; 'avowed, undisguised; downright.'ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS
Signature: Jonathon Green